Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Joanie is pale in muted light of hospital room. She fell down her stairs.

Evening mountains veiled in somber mist,
One path entering the wooded hill:
The monk has gone off, locking his pine door.
From a bamboo pipe a lonely trickle of water flows.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)

Two Tibetan monks stop in shop for hot chocolate. Dawa bows, leaves Kata over joined hands, prayer flags, and incense. Holly and Charlotte sit by fire with them. These monks, their bare arms not far from bitter cold. "Buddha was wrong," says Wang Chen, laughing as he points showing Karl his bare left arm, "he didn't know Maine cold."

In her hospital room there is a small buildup of ice inside the window. The room is quite warm. She is tired and weary. I say goodnight.

In workroom of bookshop a trickle of water runs inside tank of toilet so that below zero cold will not freeze pipe coming up from shallow travel below parking lot.

At his baptism with John, Jesus felt water trickle down head to shoulders and arms. God was water caressing offspring.

"Listen to him," water said. Just then, right there, water found sound refreshing and gentle, and began to flow on with restored resolve.

Our Savior came to be baptized, so that through the cleansing waters of baptism he might restore the old man to new life, heal our sinful nature, and clothe us with unfailing holiness. (Antiphon, Canticle of Mary, Evening Prayer I, Baptism Of The Lord, in Christian Prayer)

If our nature is sinful, that is, torn and frayed from its original wholeness, old man water was healing, and being healed by, new life revealed in the river.

John's words were heard and hands touched this new life -- many heard and felt the open mind, heart, and heavens -- as water found its way.

Jesus went on from that day.

A lonely trickle of water flows.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Note: Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery will re-open Saturday, 10Jan04 for 9:30am conversation on The Many Faces of Death.

.....

Sea smoke rises from Penobscot Bay.

What if it were true that the very air we look through is the spirit of God? The air we breath?

Would our perspective change?

Acts at random,
In ignorance of
The constant, bode ill.
Knowing the constant
Gives perspective;
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
The highest nobility is divine,
And the divine is the Way.
This Way is everlasting,
Not endangered by physical death.

- Tao-te Ching

What is constant?
In the question is the answer -- 'What Is!'

Do we look for God in vain because God is what is looking through, God is what is looked through?

The Way is constant. We either enter it and disappear; or we run around it, exhaust ourselves, and fall bitter, defeated, and seemingly wayless.

Seemingly -- because there is only the Way. What falls defeated is the false self whose belief posits itself outside and away from what is alone truth.

What is alone truth is this.

This is where we are -- each and every one of us.

We are each alone truth -- non-separate, intimate, sacred, and ordinary.

Some ask, "Where is God?"

Look around. Look through what is between the one looking and that which is seen. Now, forget who we think is looking and what we think is the object we look at.

In the looking itself, what is seen through, is what is itself seen.

The ego, what we think we are, cannot see God and live.

We live in seeing what God is seeing.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Note: Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery will be closed a few days, Friday 2Jan04 through 9Jan04. We will re-open Saturday, 10Jan04 for 9am conversation on death and dying.

.....

Very cold night in Maine.

Right at the moment of dropping off,
Deliberation and discussion
Are one thousand or
Ten thousand miles away.

- Hongzhi (1091-1157)

Snow-making machines at Snow Bowl. Wind rattles rusting chime outside room.

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

(Mark 6: 45-52, New International Version (NIV))

What's there to understand? Bread stretched itself to 5 thousand mouths. Water buoyed itself under human feet. He was alone on land.

It's not that miracles are incomprehensible. It's more that for some reason we believe that everything isn't possible.

Everything is possible.

Machines make snow. Rusting iron ore makes music for the wind. Filament holds fragile fingers together and light glows in that touch.

Soon we'll remember a time when not everyone told the truth. Lies will be preserved in museums, many in presidential libraries, others in bait and tackle backrooms in fishing towns in Atlantic Provinces.

It's just me, Jesus says, lighten up.

Anybody got coffee on the fire?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Note: Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery will be closed a few days, Friday 2Jan04 through 9Jan04. We will re-open Saturday, 10Jan04 for 9am conversation on death and dying.

.....

Blessings of Epiphany!

Shining through.

After sitting through unheated cabin cold, we chant Lauds. This morning prayer of Epiphany is punctuated by sun coming over clouds, through windows, to where we sit on zabutons, breath visible in every syllable:

Father of light, unchanging God,
today you reveal to men [and women] of faith
the resplendent fact of the Word made flesh.
Your light is strong,
your love is near;
draw us beyond the limits which the world imposes,
to the life where your Spirit makes all life complete.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(Alternative Prayer, Morning Prayer, Solemnity of Epiphany, in Christian Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours)

It is the 'Alternative Prayer' and it captures something important for us this feast. The words -- draw us beyond the limits which the world imposes,
to the life where your Spirit makes all life complete.
-- tell us the emphasis we look for in this new year.

We will begin a new Friday Evening Conversation entitled, Interreligious Dialogue: Unveiling and Practicing Peace Between Ways. The hour-long conversation, along with regular audio-video resource presentations, will focus on Hinduism (and other India-based spiritual belief systems), Judaism, Islam, Far East, Native, Pagan, and various contemplative and meditative forms attempting to express what the heart longs for in open forum.

Caroline's "story stick" leans against a cabin wall. On it are inscribed symbols of the various world religions. It resides in the chapel/zendo to remind how varied, diverse, and pluralistic is the thinking and prayer of humankind.

If we are ever to embody the kindness and peace longed for in our world, we'll have to learn how to unveil and practice peace between ways of seeing and living life.

A joyfulness comes with sunlight across cabin floor. Joy accompanies this inchoate, and now newly worded, theme of Meetingbrook.

Parents, angels, shepherds, wise men and women, kings, and the rest of us -- all -- are in the presence of 'the resplendent fact of the Word made flesh.'

Epiphany, appearance and recognition, is crucial for heart-peace and world-peace.

Draw us, indeed, beyond the limits which this world imposes, to the life where your [and our] Spirit makes all life complete!

This is the bond between us -- to move through this Word and world -- finding all life whole.

Then going home an alternative way.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Note: Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery will be closed a few days, Friday 2Jan04 through Epiphany, 6Jan04. We will re-open Wednesday, 7Jan04. (Will inform if closed additional days.)
.....

Tibetan prayer flags wave on cabin porch.

Snow besieges my plank door
I crowd the stove at night.
Although this form exists
It seems as if it doesn’t.
I have no idea where the
Months have gone
Every time I turn around
Another year on earth is over.

- Han-shan Te-ch’ing (1546-1623)

Mu-ge, Sando, and Cesco snooze in kitchen.

When we walk the earth, each step is prayer. When wind crosses Sally's to Sue's, prayer floats the distance. When seated in silence, prayer settles into form of stillness.

Prayer is holiness longing for itself -- no exceptions.